GODFATHERISM IN ANAMBRA by Chuks Okonkwo


Anambra State is believed to be one of the states in Nigeria that is free from Political ‘Godfatherism”. This believe is one driven and enforced on unsuspecting Nigerians by the immediate past Governor of the State, Mr Peter Obi.

The emergence of Mr Obi as the winner of the 2003 Gubernatorial election (a mandate that was stolen by Dr. Chris Ngige and his Abuja godfathers for about three years) brought a sigh of relief to Ndi Anambra who were already living in miserable conditions following the incessant battles in the state by men who were considered to be political godfathers in the state from the wake of the present Democratic dispensation.

Prior to Obi’s emergence as Governor in 2006, Anambra state witnessed high power tussles that grounded the state from 1999 – 2006. This period saw collapse in infrastructures, Public properties, thuggery, crime increase, constant breach of public peace by men of ‘NATO’ etc. So when Obi came out as a self sponsored Governor, the people rejoiced greatly.

Not sooner was the Obi led Administration in office when reality began to dawn on majority of Ndi Anambra that although one era of GODFATHERISM has ended, another era began with the Obi Administration.

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The Obi Administration enthroned another form of GODFATHERISM in Anambra State known as the “RELIGIOUS CUM DENOMINATIONAL GODFATHERISM”. This saw the leaders of a certain Christian denomination becoming the mouths that speak and the hands that swing the pendulum in the state. These persons who are very few in number began to dictate the activities of the Government in the state.

They decide on appointments into political offices, employment into the State Civil Service, emergence of candidates of major Political Parties among others. They ensured that through the Governor and his aid, none members of their denomination are forced into being Second Class citizens of the state. They took over every apparatus of government and utilized public media houses and other public properties to advance the course of their denomination.

These men who claim to be servants of God through the Governor enthroned injustice, nepotism and denominationalism in Anambra state.

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Sadly, this has continued to be the state of things in Anambra state. It is no news that it is only in Anambra state that applicants into the Civil service are demanded to fill in their Church denomination in the application forms. This became more clear with the recent Teachers Recruitment exercise in March 2018.

Civil servants are now promoted on denominational basis and no more on merit. This has indeed led to the rottenness and enshrined corruption in the Civil Service. Unqualified persons now hold major top positions in the state. Oh Anambra state!

Anambra state now witness denominational “terrorism” because a certain denomination is in power. This wasn’t the case in previous years when members of other denominations were in the seat of governance in the state.

Equity, Justice and Fairness are now alien to Anambra state to the extent that one begins to wonder if this is indeed a secular state.

If nothing is done to stop this denominational foolishness that has engulfed Anambra state, a denominational crisis may not be far-fetched.

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Anambrarians of goodwill who stand against the injustices of the Buhari’s Administration against Ndi Igbo must also rise now and speak against this injustice being committed by Igbo persons against their fellow Ndi Igbo in Anambra state on denominational grounds.

This ugly monster must be beheaded and buried ultimately for justice to prevail. Ndi Anambra must remember the Igbo name that states “Ogunoegbunam” which means “the family battle shouldn’t kill one” because the situation in Anambra state is degenerating to a battle among brothers in the same family the most recent being the battle over the ownership of the Crowther Primary School, Onitsha whose name is enough proof of ownership.

It should be noted that denominational war will not do our dear state any good. It will cripple the state and take us to experiences worse than that of the days of the political godfathers in the state. Hence the need to avert this crisis that is almost at the boiling point.

Ndi Anambra, let us know that “Ewelu, weluka n’ese okwu” (lack of equity breeds war). We must raise up now and kick out this monster of Religious godfathers in Anambra state ka obodo anyi welu di nma.

Chuks Okonkwo a Social Analyst writes from Onitsha